Phil 🇺🇦 Profile picture
No war in Europe. Solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Jul 3, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
Covid day 1:
mope around feeling a bit down, and also thinking the weather was unseasonably cold. Notice thermometer reading 21 degrees. Oh.

Night 1: wide awake - eyelids felt nailed open - at 2 a.m. Got back to disturbed sleep. Day 2: take test. Bugger. Take temperature. Buggeration. Take paracetamol. Don't do much.

Night 2: wide awake at 3 a.m., then at 4, then at 5. Disturbed sleep in between. Weird half-conscious half-dreaming state afterwards.
Jul 3, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
Being an old git, I remember 1997 - and I remember people saying then that, actually, Labour *had to* pitch right, actually, and they'd be far more radical in office. (This was the election campaign they went into with a 30-point lead, although to be fair they only won by 12%.) After 1997 I remember people saying that, actually, Labour in office *had to* play it safe and keep their powder dry; you wait, they'll be far more radical when they've got a second term.

Labour's second term is now remembered mainly for the Iraq War.
Jun 21, 2022 11 tweets 9 min read
@philbc3 @KeirMilburn @meadwaj I think - at least, I'm cautiously allowing myself to consider the possibility - that what we see here is that Jeremy Corbyn was right: we won the argument. @philbc3 @KeirMilburn @meadwaj Thread ensues (1/many):

There are three big factors in the demoralisation of the Left ATM - but I think they may not add up to as much, or fit together quite as well, as we've assumed they do.
Jun 21, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
Interesting what Johnson isn't saying (at least according to the headlines on the BBC). He's not giving it the whole "they shall not pass", "tightly-knit group of politically-motivated people", "holding the country to ransom" bit; he's said that the strike's causing "very significant disruption" (cheers for that!) and called on travellers to "stay the course" (???). The message to the rail companies is basically "sorry about this, sort it out as best you can, let us know when it's over".
Jun 21, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Say you had a four-year period in which the Left was much more confident and assertive, followed by two years in which everyone had to stay at home.

What might the year after that look like? Don't get me wrong, the organised Left - in the Labour Party especially - is on the deck; we've been well and truly battered.

But maybe some things were learned and not unlearned.
Jun 20, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
Call me a cynical old pinko (I am), but this from Compass strikes me as a swing and a miss. I mean, are they? Reliably? Are you absolutely sure that, if push came to shove, Lib Dems and Change UK nostalgics would fall in with your broad anti-Conservative alliance, irrespective of who else was in it?
Jun 19, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Honestly couldn't think of anything, but then I remembered that he did teach me about the class system, the necessity (and limitations) of trade unionism and what the Labour Party can do. Also that anyone saying that socialism has to be undemocratic is ludicrously wrong, as only socialism could offer *economic* democracy.

Caveat 1: he also taught me that anyone with any sense would climb the greasy pole and get out - but what son of a miner doesn't think that?
Oct 14, 2021 16 tweets 3 min read
He's going full Italian Communist Party. You never go full Italian Communist Party.

I mean, did it work for them? It did not. [gestures at last 40 years of Italian politics] The PCI, bless their Togliattian hearts, spent decades wagging a stern finger at the Christian Democrats and warning them that they had better shape up and get a grip, or somebody more responsible - with more of a "sense of the state" - would have to take over.

Did it work? No.
Oct 13, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Bog knows how Twitter does its thing, but I'm guessing that Muh Followers don't see every pearl of wisdom I deposit* on here in reply threads, even where the people I'm replying to aren't locked.

*alternative verbs I tried were even worse So here's a thing I just said.

Many different solidarity / protest campaigns are focused on one country in particular, and that doesn't make them any less legitimate. The answer to "why campaign against Israel in particular?" is "why not?".
Oct 12, 2021 12 tweets 2 min read
If advocating a boycott of the world's only Jewish state is a bad thing - or "looks bad" or "raises embarrassing questions" or "puts you in an awkward position" or whatever - where does that leave us? I'm not an expert in the history of Zionism, but I'm not aware that anyone's ever advocated the establishment of more than one Jewish state. So Israel is going to remain "the world's only Jewish state" for the foreseeable future.
Jun 14, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
The leaked report was very good on this. People at Head Office were furious that he'd said it, but also genuinely convinced it was the wrong thing to say *tactically*, & that it would send our polling into reverse. Then, rather than revising their conviction that Corbyn's anti-imperialism was an electoral liability, they spent the next two years making sure that it was - mostly, of course, by turning it into something that it wasn't.
Jun 14, 2021 9 tweets 2 min read
Just punted this out in another context & thought it might be worth running past my legions of followers...

Three rules of liberal individualism.

1. Freely chosen actions that don't hurt anyone else cannot be criticised.

(Obviously! Who's to say what's a 'bad' choice?) 2: A free choice is any choice which someone claims to have made freely.

(Obviously! What other evidence can you possibly have? Are you saying people don't know what they're doing? Or does this only apply to *those* people, hmm?)
Jun 13, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life when I was 16. Unfortunately, by the time I got through university I was convinced I wasn't good enough to do it (or possibly that it wasn't good enough for me and I should get a Proper Job), so I only started doing it when I was 44. Kids! Don't do that.
Jun 13, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
If you take this seriously (i.e. with pedantic literalism) it becomes more coherent rather than less so, & for that matter more alarming rather than less so. "Values and why people hold them", not just "facts".

But this means that the "why" part in turn can't (entirely) be based on "facts" - in other words, he's implicitly calling for "values" plus *value-based* explanations of why people hold them.
Jun 12, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Just read Adam Mars-Jones' LRB review of Francis Spufford's marvellous novel _Light Perpetual_, and I have feelings.

Or rather, I have a strong mental image of myself holding forth at great length and volume, concluding "of course he's no RICHARD FORD!" and breaking something. I haven't got anything against Richard Ford, you understand. And it's not even a particularly ungenerous review.

It just... misses something. I've felt this before about AM-J's reviews of Kate Atkinson and Kazuo Ishiguro - and I think the something may be 'the point'.
Mar 27, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
What's really interesting[1] about that BBC piece is that it barely even claims to report *what happened*. Here's what the police said, here's what Johnson said, here's what Patel said, here's what Anneliese Dodds said when we will-you-condemn'ed her...

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan… [1] As in "well, this is certainly an interesting present from the cat".
Mar 26, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
This says a lot about the strange, sad period we now appear to be in - but one detail in particular stood out.

theguardian.com/education/2021…
Aug 29, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
I've worked in an office that was also a social hub. We ate lunch in the canteen, we went to the pub together, there were clubs and societies and 5-a-side and a quiz league with proper prizes, and at Christmas there was a big do with presents all round and cheap booze. You couldn't work from home back then, but you wouldn't want to (no chance of a cooked dinner for one thing). I had quite a long commute, and I was strongly encouraged to move house - not for work, but specifically so that I could take part in more of the social events.
Jan 22, 2020 14 tweets 3 min read
Social media will only ever stop being a troll farm when there are costs to *not reining yourself in*.

Example: the Polemical Habitual Plural. Mr Smith, your longterm political opponent, does something discreditable - or is credibly accused of doing something discreditable - on one occasion. Say he kills a rabbit - or is credibly accused of, etc. Say he's also been caught out in a lie (once).
Dec 31, 2019 10 tweets 2 min read
I can tell you exactly what Gillian Duffy was saying, because I took notes at the time.

Are you sitting comfortably? She told Gordon Brown the government was going to cut the winter fuel allowance, because her friends said so ("I talk to people my age and they say they’ll be knocking it off.")

He said they weren't going to cut it & mentioned free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions...
Oct 9, 2018 16 tweets 10 min read
Brief note on @glinner and @WestYorksPolice , and just what it was that they gave to him.

The offence of harassment* is unusual in that you can't do it just once; it's defined as 'a course of conduct'.

1/
*Slight simplification which doesn't affect the argument @Glinner @WestYorksPolice But what is a course of conduct, and (more importantly) how do you make one stand up in court? You have to have dates and specifics - you show that an identifiable course of conduct began on date X, when the offender began the process of harassment by doing action Y.

2/